BOSTON — Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman faced off against the state's gun lobby director in an informal debate Thursday meant to highlight what the Democratic candidate for governor says is the failure of a party primary opponent — Attorney General Martha Coakley — to embrace tougher gun control.
WASHINGTON — The government says its criminal case against a former Blackwater security guard is in jeopardy as a June 11 trial looms on charges stemming from the shootings of dozens of Iraqi citizens in an incident in Baghdad nearly seven years ago.
Nicholas Slatten and three other former Blackwater guards are charged in the Sept. 16, 2007, killings of 14 Iraqi citizens and the wounding of 18 others.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — All Americans stand with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday, adding that hate crimes are "an affront" to the nation.
Before an overflow crowd of about 1,300, Holder joined Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several religious and political leaders at an interfaith memorial service at the Jewish Community Center, the site of one of two shootings that stunned the city on the eve of Passover.
WASHINGTON — It may be a few years before the first daughters head to college, but Michelle Obama is already brainstorming a dorm room checklist while encouraging high school students to dream big about their education beyond graduation.
The first lady told a group of students Thursday that a high school diploma is not enough in today's global economy.
"No longer is high school the bar. That is not enough," Mrs. Obama told the crowd. "You have got to go to college or get some kind of professional training."
The city of Boston is calling for state gaming czar Stephen Crosby to recuse himself from deciding who gets the eastern Massachusetts casino license, saying he has made prejudicial statements about the city’s host community status claims that have created a cloud over the process.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A man who faced a $525 fine for refilling an 89-cent drink at a Veterans Affairs hospital apparently will get off with a warning.
When Christopher Lewis of North Charleston, S.C., refilled his drink without paying Wednesday, a federal police officer gave him a ticket. Lewis is a construction worker and says he never noticed the signs and has refilled his drink before without paying.
VA spokeswoman Tonya C. Lobbestael said after reviewing what happened at the Ralph C. Johnson Center in Charleston, officials decided a warning was sufficient.
A fifth-grade teacher at a Cambridge school secretly videotaped children changing clothes in a locker room, federal authorities said in court documents accusing the man of child-pornography charges.
Josh Wairi, 27, of Somerville, is charged with transportation of child pornography, prosecutors said. He was arrested today and was due to appear in court this afternoon.
PRETORIA, South Africa — An expert witness for the defense at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was supposed to help the athlete's assertion that he killed his girlfriend by mistake last year, but he ended his testimony on Thursday amid blistering attacks on his credibility by a prosecutor who accused him of slipshod analysis and fuzzy explanations.
BOSTON — Attorney General Martha Coakley's campaign committee has agreed to pay nearly $18,000 to charity as part of an agreement with campaign regulators over payments made with federal committee funds.
Coakley, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts governor, also agreed to pay $6,000 to the state to cover the cost of the review.
WASHINGTON — Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December.
But the agency says it could take years to identify the criminals who stole some 40 million debit and credit card numbers of Target shoppers and other personal information from as many as 70 million people in the pre-Christmas breach.
NEW YORK — A wealthy hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser who supported Hilary Clinton for president pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates and coached someone to lie about it.
An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power.
Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system."
The sun is out and it's warming up after an unseasonably cold morning in northern New England.
The National Weather Service says the temperature dipped to 22 early Thursday in Portland, breaking the old record of 24 set in 2003. In Montpelier, Vt., it was even colder at 14 degrees, breaking old record of 17, also in 2003.
And in Concord, the temperature dipped to 18, tying the record set in 1908.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Metrodome is no more.
Project leaders for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium says the demolition of the team's old home was formally completed Thursday. The final remnants were being trucked away a month ahead of schedule.
The building was razed to make way for a nearly $1 billion stadium scheduled to open in 2016. Some construction on that facility began as the Dome came down.
MOSCOW — To understand Russian President Vladimir Putin's intentions in Ukraine, it helps to pay close attention to his choice of words and his reading of history. Here is what Putin had to say Thursday in a nationally televised call-in program:
LITTLE GREEN MEN
A UMass Boston building has been evacuated after a bomb threat today, authorities said.
The threat was reportedat 12:51 p.m., Boston Police Spokeswoman Rachel McGuire said.
The Wheatley Building at 100 Morrissey Ave. was evacuated, UMass officials said, and authorities are investigating at the scene.
“The Boston Police Bomb Squad was notified,” McGuire said.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Springfield woman has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in connection with the death of a city man found in his apartment last month.
Diomaris Valentin was ordered held without bail at her arraignment Thursday in Springfield District Court.
The 28-year-old Valentin is charged in connection with the death of 61-year-old Craig Sheridan.
Sheridan was found dead in his sixth-floor apartment on March 22 after neighbors said he had not been seen in days and detected an odor. Police say he may have been dead a week before the body was discovered.
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin is assuring Edward Snowden that Russians have nothing to fear when it comes to mass surveillance by their own government.
Several hours into Putin's televised call-in show today, there was an appearance on video from Snowden, the American who leaked a trove of material on U.S. government surveillance programs from the National Security Agency. He was granted asylum in Russia last year.
Snowden asked, "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze the communications of millions of individuals?"
BOSTON — A nonprofit watchdog group has opened an investigation into the treatment of inmates at the Bridgewater State Hospital psychiatric prison.
The state Department of Correction confirmed Wednesday that lawyers from the Disability Law Center arrived at the medium-security prison Tuesday to meet with administrators, gather records and talk to patients.
The visit was "a positive meeting," department spokesman Darren Duarte told The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/1tdKCyv ).
An associate of ex-Patriots star Aaron Hernandez — who is accused of an execution-style slaying last summer — has been arrested on federal charges including witness tampering and obstruction of justice after authorities say he lied to a grand jury about buying a car, where a gun was later recovered in connection with the victim’s shooting death.